Recruiting people with disabilities for your tourism business is easier than you might think—if you think inclusively.
Inclusive recruiting involves reviewing your hiring practices so you’ll have the best chance of attracting diverse candidates. If you already know the business case for hiring people with disabilities and you’ve set up your team for success, it’s time to get going. Here are three tips to move forward.
Candidates will find you if you tell the world that you’re open to hiring inclusively. Develop a statement for your website and job descriptions that convey your inclusive culture. Post in a diversity of places—reach out to disability-service organizations, post-secondary institutions, and share your commitment on social media. Ask your own staff for referrals. “The more public we are about our commitment, the more diverse candidates we get,” says Lisa Beecroft, who owns Gabi & Jules Bakery in Port Moody. Beecroft aims to provide work opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum; out of a staff of 30 employees, 10 have disclosed that they have a disability.
Small adjustments to the application process can encourage more candidates to apply. Write the job description in plain language, and offer it in alternative formats to website copy such as an accessible PDF. (The latter often reads better on screen readers than website text for those who are blind or have vision loss.) Be clear about the skills required to do the job and what’s nice to have so individuals don’t rule themselves out. Consider adding a phone number so individuals with disabilities can contact someone directly and ask for accommodations.
Think outside of the box when it comes to interviewing candidates. Try having a casual conversation instead of a formal interview for the first meeting. If you do conduct a formal interview, opt for clear, direct questions instead of theoretical or behavioural-based questions. Remember to ask candidates if they need any accommodations for the interview such as having an ASL interpreter present, ensuring a wheelchair-accessible location, or having the interview in a space with minimal distractions. Consider allowing individuals to preview the job by trying it out. “Working interviews, where the candidate gets to preview the job, are the best way for them to demonstrate their skill set, and for me to see whether they can indeed do the job” says Beecroft.
By incorporating these three tips into your recruitment process, you will not only see the benefits from a hiring perspective but a change in your overall organizational culture.
“Inclusivity in our culture is the absolute core. And we do it just because it’s who we are and it’s the right thing to do,” says Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, who is the President & CEO of Century Plaza Hotels & Absolute Spa Group. The co-founder of Pacific Autism Family Network, she has been part of training and hiring individuals on the autism spectrum for years. To date, the hotel and spa has hired over a dozen people through Pacific Autism.
For tips from other business leaders, see the Presidents Group website.
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